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How can your business quickly respond to COVID 19 pandemic

08 May 2020

In the environment of a global pandemic, to survive and overcome the associated critical challenges business needs to react and respond quickly.

Obviously, most companies are unable to develop within the frames of the previously set strategies. Every business is forced to take immediate action on all operational aspects in order to survive. New information about COVID-19 comes in on a daily basis, including the so called "informational stovepipng". In such circumstances the executive management must demonstrate strong leadership responsibility and make quick decisions to ensure health and safety of each employee, while focusing on the efficient business continuity.

You need a quick response system to support your business during the pandemic and to secure its position on the market.

Set up a COVID-19 Command Center

Depending on the size of your organization, it is necessary to organize a command center immediately. This is the central authority for making advanced decisions, coordinate the activities and manage communications. It should be led by a senior executive with logical and analytical abilities, authorized to make decisions and direct the work within the frames of all the activities in the field of crisis managements. This person should be accountable directly to the managing director, the executive management and major shareholders.

In its activities, the command center should apply a flexible approach, using digital tools to assure timely information delivery and status updates, as well as to perform the effective joint interaction of the various operational teams. The goal is to create and implement a reliable communication plan with a single information channel for employees, clients, shareholders and other interested parties. The key messages should increase awareness, support business continuity, help to suppress panic, demonstrate readiness and organization, and ensure clear and planned progress.

Create a comprehensive impact plan for COVID-19

Now is the time to initiate efforts to assess and evaluate the financial impact COVID-19 would have on your business in order to minimize its affects on the final results. A full plan should take into consideration all the key functions and departments of the organization including, but not limited to the following:

Commercial

Your team must evaluate if there will be an immediate change in consumer behavior due to the COVID-19. They should determine what traditional work policies require a review within the context of customer priorities, how to improve communication with consumers, and what steps should be taken to protect the brand and improvement of the long-term relationships with your customers.

Financial

Financial forecasts should be adjusted with the consideration of the realistic and worst-case scenarios. To cover the expected revenue gaps, the team must develop profit-raising initiatives, such as short-term procurement and cost reduction in the supply chain.

People

HR team must convey by all available methods the reasonableness of the actions taken. Separately, it is necessary to adjust the personnel management policy in order to provide the flexibility necessary for your employees during the crisis.

Operational

Executive Managers need to understand the ongoing changes in the needs of your customers and make sure that the sales team can effectively adapt to rapid changes. They should have prepared plans to ensure the safety of production workers and, if possible, prevent business shutdowns. This may also mean updating the environmental protection and the health and safety protocols, as well as a changes in organizational space.

Technological

The technical team must make sure that your network is able to cope with a significant increase in the workloads due to the increased online activity of employees while working from home, to provide the necessary technical conditions that allow employees to maximize the use of virtual spaces and other communications platforms for effective interactions, meetings and other corporate communications. The technical team also needs to prepare several risks management plans and prepare the company to prevent and counter possible fraud and virus attacks.

Protect your value chain from failures due to the COVID-19

COVID-19 will ultimately impact every step of the value chain.

Companies can protect their supply chains by tracking needs from customers to suppliers. Your suppliers require real-time input data monitoring, and you will need to update daily information on the stocks, supplies, and manufacturing priorities. Manufacturers respond to changing demand and labor shortages, while retailers are faced with increased demand for many products and supply shortages. At the same time, it is worth to range and diverse the interdependent deliveries by rapid implementation of an anti-monopoly procurement concept. Your customers’ buying behavior can be unstable and it is extremely important to have several scenarios of declining purchasing power, as well as pinpoint the customer’s perception of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over time, companies must prepare to return to normal operations after the COVID-19. Your prompt response should further develop into plans for resuming operations and retraining your staff if necessary (especially in cases of layoffs). The experience gained during the crisis should be systematized in order to provide the correct information background on future work as your business develops.

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